Avocados are ah-mazing! First off they’re creamy and delish. Second, they’re loaded with potassium, magnesium and heart-healthy fats. “Avocados help decrease your appetite by making you feel fuller for longer,” says Michelle Alley, a nutritionist at iFit. So why do we need to warn you? How could you possibly make an avocado unhealthy? It just so happens people can easily fall into an avocado pit. Here are the facts for one avocado: 250 calories, 23 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbs, 13 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein. “Everyone hears that avocados are a healthy fat so they think it’s now their right to eat as many of them as they would like,” says Vanessa Rissetto, RD. False!
“When people are struggling to lose weight and their diets are full of ‘healthy’ foods, so often the problem lies in the portion sizes and this is a big issue with avocados,” says Alley. Avocados have important nutrients but they’re also high in calories. “The proper serving size of an avocado is about ¼ , but most people are eating ½ to the entire avocado in their meals - and sometimes in multiple meals a day,” says Dr. David Greuner of NYC Surgical Associates. “That’s way too much and is actually unhealthy.” Have you ever binged on what seems like a bottomless bowl of guacamole? We’ve def been there. People tend to eat and eat and eat guac. Then it gets refilled and they eat more.
If you make the guacamole, you control the added salt. But many store-bought or restaurant-made dishes are loaded with sodium that leads to major belly bloat. “When you go to Chipotle and they cover your bowl with guac, that’s clearly much more then ¼ of an avocado and therefore is no longer healthy,” says Dr. Greuner. And then there’s the processed chips. Oops. You know the ones – loaded with salt, fat, bad carbs and unpronounceable ingredients. Not good.
“A golden rule with any snack or meal is to try to get at least three out of the five food groups,” says Alley. Try and consume avocado with some protein and veggies. We like dipping red peppers into our guac. Or use it as a topping or spread. Think scrambled eggs with black beans or grilled chicken and a dollop of guacamole. Alley says another way to keep avocados in check is by using single serve, 100-calorie cups from Wholly Guacamole ($4).
“It helps if you view avocados more as a healthy fat like olive oil than as a fruit,” says Alley. Determining how much is too much will depend on the individual. As for Alley, she aims to consume no more than half of an avocado in a day. “I usually have a fourth of an avocado with my eggs, and then I throw the other fourth on a salad for lunch,” she says.
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